MORGANTOWN — Aleena McDaniel and Sydni Clawges played the part of Cerberus on Dec. 19, guarding the gates of the Rowdy Center in Morgantown’s 62-45 victory over Class AAA No. 8-ranked Brooke. The duo combined for 34 of the Mohigans’ points against the previously undefeated Bruins.
“I thought with Brooke coming in at 6-0 and ranked in the top 10, that we were going to take their best shot,” Morgantown head coach Jason White said. “I thought our kids came out and really worked really hard.”
The Mohigans won the game with a stellar defensive effort, forcing turnovers with an aggressive style of play.
“We’re still going to be a team that’s oriented around defense,” White said. “We’ve got a young team with a lot of new faces. Our defense is way ahead of our offense right now, and we knew that was going to be the case.”
White said that even though the offense isn’t quite where he’d like it to be yet, he’s not concerned just yet, and sees it coming together piece by piece.
“We’re still so much under construction on the offensive end of the floor, but they keep getting better, White said. “We don’t want to be playing our best basketball in December, we want to save that for the end of February.”
The Mohigans’ defense stifled the Bruins in the first half in particular, holding them to 20 points, with 14 of them coming from center Hope Bowman. The Mohigans jumped out to a 7-0 run to start the game, and carried the momentum to a 29-20 lead at the halfway mark of the game.
The Bruins responded with a stronger effort in the second half, including a 16-point effort in the fourth quarter, but Morgantown exploded with 33 points in the final 16 minutes of action to put the proverbial nail in the coffin.
The Mohigans’ secondhalf burst was largely due to their strong defensive effort, which opened the floodgates for quick transition baskets and high-percentage shots.
“I hope that our kids realize that when we do things correctly and play hard on the defensive end, we’re always going to have opportunities to be in the game,” White said. “I thought our defensive intensity and effort led to some good opportunities on the offensive end.”
The Mohigans had three players tally double digits, with Kaitlyn Ammons adding 12 behind the dynamic performance of McDaniel and Clawges.
The Mohigans (4-2) return to action next on Friday evening, as they travel to Spring Mills, in Martinsburg. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.